The Fediverse has a lot of blind or partially sighted members who use screen readers to listen to posts. Large groups of emoji make life difficult because the reader reads aloud each emoji's text description back to back.

βœ… You can make your posts more accessible to blind users' screen readers by only using individual emoji, and avoiding large groups of emoji.

For example πŸ˜ƒ is fine but πŸ˜€ πŸ˜† :bloblaugh: 😁 πŸ‘ πŸ˜ƒ 😜 πŸ€— :blobcatcoffee: causes problems.

Hashtags can be difficult for blind people's screen readers, because the reading software may have trouble telling the words apart in the tag.

βœ… You can make hashtags screen reader friendly by using "CamelCase", where each word in the tag begins with a capital letter.

For example, is fine but may cause problems.

If you are posting images, you can make them more accessible by adding a text description for screen readers.

βœ… After you've attached an image, click "Edit" on it and write the description. If there is text within the image, you can add it to the description by clicking "Detect Text From Picture", which activates Mastodon's text recognition system. When you're ready, click "Apply".

The text recognition isn't perfect, it may need correcting.

@feditips I can't wait for screen readers to say "It looks like the following few characters are not alphanumerica and could be a string of emoji/ascii art/whatever, press [button] to skip."

@feditips would it not make sense to modify the software to account for that instead ofhaving people change the way they write?
For example, recognise repeating emoticons and interpret them as just one?
Or have an option to ignore a sequence of multiple different ones, and after reading the post offer the user to read again with sequence included. And allow user to define the length of sequence to be ignored.
What if whole post is UnicodeArt (RIP ASCII)? Get an AI to recognise the composition?


I think whatever the software does, the audio user is being forced to either miss out on something important (by missing out emoji), or endure something unimportant (by reading all emoji). The audio user cannot know in advance which is the case without reading everything.

Even fully sighted people will have had this experience on "smart speakers" that read content clearly not formatted for audio.

It is more inclusive if the audio experience is similar to the text experience.

@feditips @testman Just want to note that using a lot of emoji is often intentional & important to digital communication, & assuming that they're typically frivolous or secondary at best is misleading

@romainelaprophetesse @testman

Sure, it's up to each person to choose what their priorities are.

Aim of the post is to make people aware of this issue when choosing priorities.

@feditips @testman Also a bunch of frivolous emoji is hard even for critters who can see perfectly fine! It's just meaningless visual noise we have to look past to read the actual text.

[This doesn't apply when the emoji actually /add/ something to the post, but most large emoji clusters we've seen don't.]

Thanks for pointing out, I'll look out next time πŸ™‚


Indeed! CamelCase makes it easier for everyone.

Would be super helpful if clients wouldn't remove any camel cases by using tag suggestions. Pretty sure both the Web UI and #Fedilab do this. Would be sweet if this could be changed. @Gargron @fedilab

@feditips I was told this recently on another site (Twitter) which shall remain nameless (Twitter). Honestly, it's easier to read for those of us with good eyesight, too.

@feditips another tip: avoid putting emojis at the start of a sentence (like the checks in theses posts).

@Nora @feditips Instead use the editors "unordered list" feature? (My guess, for the post above)

@ilanti @Nora @feditips That isn't always a thing! In fact plain Mastodon will actually even /drop those on the receiving end/, because apparently having only plain text is more important than getting the post's meaning across.

This also makes me wonder about emoticons. I mean, is a text reader smart enough to read :) the same way it reads πŸ™‚ ?

@futureisfoss @feditips my screenreader read your text as β€œsmiley” and the emoji as β€œslightly smiling face”

@feditips I noticed my screenreader skipped over the mastodon-custom emojis in your post, like straight up ignored them. So it may be best practice to use emoji descriptions for mastodon custom emojis.

For example:
​:QueerCatHeart_BlackTrans:​ [QueerCatHeart_BlackTrans emoji]

@feditips ironically not cwed despite doing the thing that fucks with screen readers

Meta, about CW decisions on this account 


Hey there, I agree that CWs should normally be used if there is a load of emoji like this, but I was concerned that a CW message would be unseen by those who most need to see it.

I saw it as a "least worst" choice in other words.

Meta, about CW decisions on this account 

@feditips I see... maybe make 2 versions of each post like this so people who have empathy for disabled people can also boost them

@feditips Useful. I had been using it for myself all this while. :D
How do we see hashtag trends on Masto? Besides the homepage of an instance, that is?


As far as I know the only place to see trends is on your home instance (see picture)?


Well... it's difficult to solve because software cannot know whether the emojis are potentially important information.

The only way to find out the importance of the emojis is to read them all. We consider reading them trivial if we are sighted because the visual process is so fast, but the audio process is much slower.

I'm not saying never post emojis or strings of emojis, just saying that it helps audio accessibility to avoid unimportant strings of emojis.

@feditips The software could say "5 smiles, 2 winks, 20 laughs" for example.


Different smiles have different meanings, order has meaning. It's too subtle for software.

@pthenq1 @feditips Feel free to write that software, then. If it's a hard problem, you'll learn something. If it's not a hard problem for *you*, you'll've made an outsized contribution, notably improving thousands of people's lives.

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